The first one was around 4:30 and I was in a meeting (because yesterday was an excruciatingly long day full of (helpful) but difficult meetings), so I answered and told her I couldn’t talk. She was cheerful and we decided she would call back after dinner.
She called back about 6:45 as I was driving home from work and she was upset. I think it was triggered by the fact that they were watching a movie that she thought sounded stupid AND one of the boys was making bread that smelled delicious, but didn’t turn out. Sylvia still wanted to try it, but she thought he was going to throw it all away. What can I say, the girl really loves fresh baked bread.
So, she was sad and feeling homesick. She also mentioned that she had gotten the card I sent where all the teachers had written to her. She loved it, but it also made her miss school. :-(
She told me how much she loved me and how awesome I am. LOL. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Not that we didn’t get along while she was here, but she only rarely made bold declarations of my awesomeness.
Then she asked me through her tears, “Do you think I should go w-w-watch the movie?”
I told her it might be a good distraction and she could always excuse herself and call me later if she wasn’t enjoying it.
She ended up calling me back after the movie, which “wasn’t as bad” as she thought it would be, which I think translates to her really liking it, because she told me all about it, especially the parts that were “soooo sweet.”
She was feeling much better, though she did say she missed me. Bedtime is later for them on Friday and Saturday, so she didn’t have to get off the phone at 9 like she usually does, but at about 9:15 I was so tired I had to get off the phone. All in all a much better phone call to end on.
Sylvia got a package today from her former Chinese teacher. It had mi guo and one of those papers you can write on with water & a brush. It was super sweet of her to do that and Sylvia was delighted.
Tonight they are watching Grimm & Arrow. Sylvia again gave me the hard sell on Arrow. “I think you’d really like it. It’s not exactly like Supernatural, but I think it falls into the ‘mom’ category.”
She was excited I actually worked out.
Her new physical expression class is Horseback Riding and her new creative expression class is Halloween Costumes & Makeup. She’s pretty excited about both, though her first choice for creative expression was Woodshop. She’s not worried though because they offer that every session.
She talked a little bit about the social dynamics there. She said there isn’t really “popularity” but there are kids with more friends and less friends. She says she thinks she’s in the middle. It’s not like she annoys everyone, but it also is not like she annoys no one. She said she just kinda floats through everyone.
She rapped me some of her Amish rap song, which she didn’t write, but is performing with a boy on Friday. It is to the tune of KeSha’s Tick Tock. These were the only lines I could manage to write down:
Wake up in the morning at about 5am, got to go and feed my chickens especially the hens.
We’re Amish and we’re cool and we like to rap, and if we get tired we don’t take a nap.
She was tired because she’d just done “personal fitness” for physical expression. It sounded like everyone doing their own personal workout, but togetherish? There was a formula you had to follow, but you could do what you wanted? Like, so much warm up, so much stretching, so much strength, so much cardio? The idea of Sylvia working out is still a little funny to me, but I also love it. She keeps bugging me to get back into a workout routine too, which I probably need to do because I feel like a sack of crap, but…
She was really hungry and ready for dinner, which was only a few minutes away.
Her chore this week is breakfast clean-up, which she wasn’t thrilled about. She also has “kitchen all day” (or something like that) tomorrow so she misses classes and helps cook. She doesn’t sound thrilled about it. I don’t think she likes the kitchen staff very much.
THE GOOD NEWS is that they are definitely expanding through high school! We got an email and Sylvia also told me. I asked how the 9th graders felt about it and she said they seem very excited! I asked her what she thinks and she said, “I want to stay!” YAY.
I keep wondering if our daughters will just decide not to shave.
I would be so happy, honestly, if she decided not to. It’s such a pain and I hate how self-conscious I am about it. Just like me she has pale skin and very dark hair, so if I’m going to show my legs I have to shave EVERY DAY. I’d love if she could just give no fucks about it, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen at the moment. Maybe when she’s older.
Huh. Invasive observation time: I was never taught how to shave my legs, or anything else — mom just gave me a razor and I guess we both assumed it was pretty intuitive and I’d be able to figure it out. The whole idea of teaching it is so odd to me.
Yeah, I guess there’s not much to it. I was more trying to give her a time table and a little bit of ritual around starting? I don’t even know why, but I figured it meant putting it off a little longer, which seemed like a good thing? Part of me just doesn’t want her shaving for her first time so far away from me? Who knows. Being a parent seems to come with built in conflicting feelings.
Sylvia called today while I was mid-nap, so the conversation was pretty mellow.
She called me from the swings, but she had been working out. She said she worked out for about an hour by herself. She did situps and stretches and then walk/ran on the treadmill for about 20 minutes. She asked me how my running is going, and I had to admit it’s not. But she said I should run and then we could run together, which was sweet. Aaron found out she is training for a 5k because some of her friends are doing one.
She was so happy my parents came. She just genuinely had a great time with them. That makes me feel pretty great.
At one point she said with a bit of a wistful sigh, “I’m so happy here.” It’s nice to hear that after a rough few weeks.
She asked me when I started shaving my legs. I had to admit I thought it was about her age. I asked her what she is thinking about shaving and she said, “I think I have hairy legs.” I said, “Well, it depends how you feel about having hairy legs. Some people shave their legs and some people don’t. If it doesn’t bother you, you don’t need to do it.” She said she didn’t like her hairy legs. :( I told her maybe at Thanksgiving break I could show her how to do it, but then we more sensibly decided to wait until Spring Break because she’s going to be all bundled up all winter anyway. Sigh. I feel like this is the first step to all those body things girls have to deal with. At least I feel like she’s at least heard that she doesn’t have to shave if she doesn’t want to.
I realize that 90% of my tumblr is now FarmNews. Sorry that I my child is basically more interesting than I am at this point.
Maybe she doesn’t say anything because you don’t actually ask and she thinks it’s something you don’t want to discuss? I think it’s fine to say “So, what’s your experience? Or are you not there yet, which is fine.”
Yeah. I think she’s old enough now, and she’s with older kids, so I feel like it is probably the time to be more direct.
Been there. My 12 is still in the “not interested in anyone” stage. Although both she &15 both have come out to me this year. What are the odds of that? I digress. You have an awesome kid. she’ll figure out. I’d be going crazy w/ the…
This reminds me of Penny in a way.
She apparently was unhappy about her sexuality in an undefined way that she couldn’t discuss. She didn’t understand her feelings, so couldn’t discuss them.
Now she says if we had discussed transgender more along with other sex/social topics, she might have figured it out sooner. Of course we talked openly about all health and sex topics including transgender, but we didn’t spend a ton of time on transgender.
This brings me to two points:
1. You can talk about every damned thing, and still they have to figure it out despite your best efforts, and
2. I’d openly and thoroughly discuss your curiosity/concerns directly rather than beating around the bush. It’s fine for her to know it tends to be a developmental thing and you’re wondering why she isn’t discussing it. You will not pressure her by plainly asking what’s up. It will just open the topic up for discussion and she’ll know once again that you care about how she’s faring.
Of course, I’m no developmental expert, so YMMV.
This is actually really helpful, because I’ve definitely been holding back. I don’t want to plant ideas in her head that she *should* be feeling any particular way, especially since she is still so young. But I think over Thanksgiving I’ll try to find a way to bring it up specifically and ask if she has any questions and just make sure she knows that she CAN ask us questions.
Been there. My 12 is still in the “not interested in anyone” stage. Although both she &15 both have come out to me this year. What are the odds of that? I digress. You have an awesome kid. she’ll figure out. I’d be going crazy w/ the wondering too.
It’s funny. I care so little about the actual outcome of her development, I just can’t fathom that she hasn’t thought about it at all. I had a “boyfriend” in kindergarten! I mean, was that stupid? Yes. Did I get way into the idea of “boys” before I had any idea what was going on. YES. It’s probably one of the reasons Aaron and I have never really teased her or talked about her “crushes,” because I remember how LITERALLY EVERYONE AROUND ME doing that to me made certain ideas about things inevitable. I want Sylvia to base her thoughts and feelings on sexuality and relationships on her own feelings and experiences, not some outside expectation. And I think it is perfectly developmentally appropriate that she might not really be experiencing any interest in pre-sexual stuff right now (and maybe ever? I guess? Like, that’s a possibility too…) but it can be such a big part of what kids talk about at this age (especially considering that there are 14/15 year olds at the school) that I find it hard to believe she’s not getting a chance to at least hear kids talk about it. And again, I’m not invested in the outcome, I just want to know what she’s thinking about and make myself available if she does want to talk about it. It’s a lot to sort out. The school has some pretty strict rules in place about ‘relationships’ so maybe because the pressure is off to ‘fit in’ and there are so many opportunities to do things together other than sit around awkwardly pretending to know how to ‘go steady’ the kids don’t really focus on it much. I HAVE NO IDEA. Sigh. I guess someday she’ll talk to me about it.
She went into town and got an audiobook (Doll Bones).
I guess last weekend they went to a pumpkin festival and Sylvia said she ate:
A caramel apple Cotton candy 2 Deep fried Oreos 1/2 Elephant ear Candy Funnel cake
For real. She is her father’s daughter. I’m barfing just thinking about it.
Then she started singing a song from Grease and I asked if they’d watched it. She jokingly said, “No, but we did watch The Lion King, which is a very romantic movie.”
So, I see my opening and go for it, “Is there a lot of romance happening at school?”
To which she enigmatically replies, “It’s a bunch of teenagers. What do you think?”
I have no good answer to that. I am asking the question because I LITERALLY have no idea how Sylvia feels about boyfriends/girlfriends/relationships in general. From my previous experience she just does not look at things through that lens yet and seemed to ignore the little that happened around her last year. So, I’ve been wondering if being around older kids she’s getting exposed to a little more of that. I don’t want to give her any ideas, I just want to feel her out, BUT SHE REFUSES TO BE BAITED.
Anyway, she mumbled something about getting teased sometimes for sitting next to a boy, but she said she just doesn’t care. I said I thought that was good. She should be friends with whoever she likes and sit by whoever she wants. “Yeah, well, usually when it starts whoever I’m sitting by just chases [insert name of specific boy] and pokes him until he stops, so…”
Uh. Ok. I don’t know. It’s so weird to be away from her right now and not know if she’s developing a little interest, maybe? Maybe not? And I don’t want to ask her too many questions about these specific kids because maybe they are just friends and I don’t want to give her the idea that if she likes a boy she has to *like* a boy. IT’S A FLIPPING MINEFIELD.
Sylvia called Aaron before he left work, so this is my second hand account of today’s FarmNews.
First of all, we had a botched Skype session last night that ended with a tearful phone call. She was super excited to skype, but for some reason was having trouble with the ipad connection. While we could see and hear fine, she was getting a lot of static on her end. We tried a couple different things, but in the end she just had to call us. She was disappointed because she wanted to show us the outfit she was wearing (we had just sent it to her because she needed a dressy outfit). Those of you who have known her for a while know she doesn’t always do well with things not going the way she planned so she was beside herself. It was pretty painful, especially because we’ve had several tearful conversations in a row and Aaron and I were really looking forward to a happier call.
Tonight she was much better and even apologized for last night, though of course Aaron told her it was ok! She said she’d had a great day and then related a story where she ALMOST FELL OFF A HORSE.
YIKES. Have I mentioned my fear of horses? I have a wee fear of horses and don’t love the idea of Sylvia riding them, but I know that if I stopped her from doing everything I was afraid of…well…that would be bad. She didn’t actually fall off and the horse seemed to realize something was wrong and slowed right down. YAY, Rainbow.
She may call again later because she could only talk for a few minutes before dinner.
I got an email from the school. Sylvia is still happy at school and not just sitting in corners crying. (whew) The house parent said Sylvia had told her that she hadn’t called us because she’d been busy with homework (which also might explain why she was a little stressed out yesterday).
She said Sylvia does sometimes find a place to be alone for a bit and then comes back and spends the evening with the group which is normal and fine.
She basically said she thinks Sylvia is doing well, but that seeing us sort of reset her homesickness feelings and she probably just needs time to sort it out. Which I agree with, it is just hard to hear.
Basically we are going to try to stick to a time limit when she calls, but not worry about how much she calls.
I wish they would just let her call as much as she needs to for now. She wants to share her day with you and if not doing this makes her sad, then that’s not a lesson to teach her. My opinion.
They want her to call less because she’s not really connecting to her peers. She is using her free time to call us instead. I get the impulse and don’t disagree. Aaron and I were starting to worry that her calls were getting in the way of making friends. It is a bit of an issue for her. She just doesn’t really think to ‘hang out’. She enjoys the other kids, but doesn’t seem to have a super social impulse. Because they are building community, they want to nurture that in her. I think the main problem is how Sylvia reacts to ‘rules.’ She doesn’t want to feel like she’s breaking the rule, but she lets it get her all worked up. Hopefully, they can talk to her and clarify things for her.
She is clearly having trouble figuring out how to manage the fact that the house parents want her to call us less. She is over-reacting to it by not calling and then being SUPER FUCKING SAD ABOUT IT.
I just sent them a long email to ask them to help me figure it out, because I’m not sure what the best thing is, and I’m more than happy to talk to her every night for an hour if that is what keeps her happy.
Anyway, she did have some not sad things to say, and so I don’t think she’s just wandering around crying all day.
They made butternut squash soup and kale chips and she LOVED THEM.
I missed a FarmNews while Theresa was here. I can’t remember much about the call except that they went on a walk for the Mitochondrial Disease Foundation in Akron, because one of their teachers has mitochonrial disease. She said it was freezing cold and sleeting on them, but it was the most fun thing she has ever done. She said she, “got so much joy out of it.”
She didn’t call on Sunday, which is probably a good thing, but also I’m like, “WHY DIDN’T SHE CALL?!?” Color me conflicted.
Ugh. Last night we had a tough phone call. It started out fine, and she was really excited to tell us a story about grilling asparagus when it started to storm. She was excited about the storm part, but I was excited about her using the grill.
She also said that for Community Service work a group of kids went to a nursing home. I guess they go every other Friday, but different kids go each time. She said they basically just hang out with them. They played bingo. Sylvia said she didn’t think she’d get to go again the next time because ALL OF THE KIDS WANT TO GO. ALL OF THE TEENAGE KIDS WANT TO GO HANG OUT AND PLAY GAMES WITH THE OLD PEOPLE AT THE NURSING HOME.
Then the topic of this upcoming trip to the theater came up and I don’t know what happened but she lost it. She started crying and saying she missed us and, I don’t know, it was very hard. I finally got her talking about some other stuff, but it left me feeling a little sad.
Luckily Theresa is here, so when I got off the phone I went back to watching Captain America and it was a good distraction.